B.A. in French Literature, B.A. in Social Thought and Political Economy, University of Massachusetts.

M.A., Ph.D. in French and Francophone Literature, Northwestern University

Courses Taught

I teach all levels of French as well as French and Francophone literature and culture. 

Recently taught courses:

• French Literary Studies (French 360): Joan of Arc: From Heretic to Trans Saint

• French Literary Studies (French 360): Medieval Animals: Embodiment in the Middle Ages.

• Filmic Expressions of the French-Speaking World (French 290): For the Love of Film: Agnès Varda et Jacques Demy

• The Francophone Novel (French 285): Sexuality and Power in Maghrebin Literature and Culture

• Comparative Studies in Early Literature (English/French 250): Medieval Fanfictions: Telling Stories Across Borders

• Character of French Literature (French 240): Literary Orientalisms from Marco Polo to the Present

•  The Quest: In Search of Identity, Memory, and Place (French 190)

• Advanced French Language and Ecocriticism (French 215)

• Intermediate French (French 110/210)

• Introductory French (French 100/105)

Research Interests

My research focuses on the ethics, geopolitics, and biopolitics of Francophone literature in the 12th- and 13th-century literary worlds of Arthurian romance; constructions of race, gender, and sexuality in the Middle Ages; and medievalisms and orientalisms in Medieval Studies. 


“Objects, Matter, and Assemblage: Orientalism and Awe in Robert de Clari’s Constantinople,” Exemplaria 35.4 (2023) doi:10.1080/10412573.2023.2281555

“Arthurian Ethics and Ethical Reading in the Perlesvaus,” Ethics in the Arthurian Legend (Arthurian Literature Series), ed. Evelyn Meyer and Melissa Elmes (Suffolk: Boydell and Brewer, 2023).

“Guillaume de Lorris’s Unmaking of the Self: The Dreamer’s Queer Failures” in Medieval Futurity: Essays for the Future of a Queer Medieval Studies (New Queer Medievalisms Series, vol. 1), ed. Will Rogers and Christopher Michael Roman (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 2021). doi:10.1515/9781501513701-004 [pdf]

“The Forest and the Heath: Defining the Human in Medieval Romance” (Literature Compass: Special Cluster: “Critical Race and the Middle Ages,” 16:9–10, : e12541) doi:10.1111/lic3.12541 [pdf]



  • Megan Moore, The Erotics of Grief: Emotions and the Constructions of Privilege in the Medieval Mediterranean. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2021. In H-France Forum 18 (2023).
  • Anne Besson, William Blanc, and Vincent Ferré, eds., Dictionnaire du Moyen Âge imaginaire: Le médiévalisme, hier et aujourd’hui. In French Studies 78:1 (2023).
  • Rachel May Golden and Katherine Kong, eds. Gender and Voice in Medieval French Literature and Song. In The Medieval Feminist Forum 58:2 (2023).
  • Claire Weeda, Ethnicity in Medieval Europe, 950–1250: Medicine, Power, and Religion (Health and Healing in the Middle Ages, II). In Medium Ævum 92:2 (2022).
  • Lynn T. Ramey. Black Legacies: Race and the European Middle Ages. In Medium Ævum 89:2 (2020).
  • Alban Gautier, Marc Rolland, and Michelle Szkilnik, eds. Arthur, la mer et la guerre. (Rencontres 289; Série “Civilisation médiévale” 26.) In Speculum 94:3 (July 2019).
  • Karen Sullivan. The Danger of Romance: Truth, Fantasy, and Arthurian Fictions. In Modern Philology: Critical and Historical Studies in Literature, Medieval through Contemporary, 116:3 (September 2018).

Joseph P. Derosier

Mouat Junior Professor of International Studies
Assistant Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures (French)
Chair of Medieval Studies

 Pronouns: he/him; il/lui  Email:  Phone: 608-363-2611  Schedule an Appointment  Office: Room 112, World Affairs Center

My teaching centers students, and aims to create spaces for students to explore francophone literature, film, and culture. My courses are designed as spaces for students to explore the stakes of literature in identity, nationalism, and history from the medieval period to the present. I have created classes ranging from “Genre and Gender in Romance” to “Literary Orientalisms from Marco Polo to the Present” and “For the Love of Film: Agnès Varda & Jacques Demy.” “Genre and Gender in Romance” focuses on how romans, a nascent literary genre at the turn of the 13th century, imagines desire, consent, gender, power, literary pasts and futures, and social and class structures. This course also explores how modern notions of the Middle Ages frame our relation to past and present political, social, and cultural norms. “Sexuality and Power in Maghrebin Literature and Culture,” another upper-level survey, focuses on Moroccan, Algerian, and diasporic novels, with a focus on sexuality and power, post-colonial affect and trauma, resisting norms, and coming out in 20th and 21st-century novels. I aim for my classes to give students a safe space to re-imagine how authors writing in French reimagine and rebuild the world they inhabit, how norms are created and resisted in literary and filmic works, and how we, as readers, interact with, respond to, and understand these texts.

My research focus is on the Francophone literary world at the turn of the 13th century, when French was used as a literary, mercantile, and colonial language from England to the Crusader kingdoms in the Levant. My current project insists upon romance being a political genre in late-twelfth and early-to-mid-thirteenth-century romances. This draws from queer theory and biopolitics, or the ways in which politics and government control, deploy, racialize, and understand bodies to analyze the very root of sovereignty and the fictions of the sovereign’s relation to governance in medieval literature and culture. I argue that medieval literature helps us understand that longer history of sovereignty’s relation to populations, bodies, and fictions of nation and nationhood, dismantling our current notions of biopolitical trajectories and francophone literary history. This trajectory of the Grail quest, as it is renewed with each new version of the Grail quest, allows us to trace how copies, adaptations, and continuations are acts of reading as much as they are acts of writing and composition. This project upsets trajectories of Grail romance as it has been understood, and rewrites the history of romance as a politically-engaged genre. This intervention aims to reposition romance as a genre that re-imagines political pasts and proposes alternate futures.

See this article about Prof. Derosier’s teaching: “Rewriting medieval French literature.”

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